The microbiological indicators traditionally used to assess fecal contamination are insufficient to identify the source. The aim of this study was to detect microbial markers to identify the source of fecal pollution in the Bogotá River (Colombia). For this, we determined non-discriminating indicators such as Escherichia coli, somatic coliphages and phages infecting strain RYC2056 of Bacteroides, and potential source tracking markers as phages infecting strains GA17, HB13, and CA8 of Bacteroides, sorbitol-fermenting bifidobacteria, and molecular markers of Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Bifiodobacterium dentium, and Bacteroidetes in raw municipal wastewaters, slaughterhouse wastewaters, and the Bogotá River. Bacteriophages infecting Bacteroides strain GA17 and the molecular markers identified the wastewater sources. In contrast, sorbitol-fermenting bifidobacteria failed regarding specificity. In the Bogotá River, phages infecting strain GA17 were detected in all samples downstream of Bogotá, whereas they should be concentrated from 1 l samples in upstream samples containing less than 103 E. coli/100 ml to be detected. In the river water, the fraction of positive detections of molecular markers was lower than that of phages infecting strain GA17. The ratio SOMCPH/GA17PH was shown also to be a good marker. These results provide information that will allow focusing measures for sanitation of the Bogotá River.
- microbial source tracking
- molecular markers
- First received 29 September 2014.
- Accepted in revised form 15 December 2014.
- © IWA Publishing 2015